St Hedda’s School, Egton Bridge, set to join Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust
Leaders at Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT) have expressed their delight at the prospect of a school in the village where their patron was born joining them.
St Hedda’s in Egton Bridge is set to become the 27th school in the NPCAT family on April 1 after the trust entered into talks with the Department for Education (DfE).
Blessed Nicholas Postgate (1596 or 1597–August 7 1679) ministered to the Catholic families of the area after his ordination in France in 1630.
He continued despite fierce persecution of Catholics but was arrested near Whitby in 1697, when he was 82, and condemned to death. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at York and is one of the last Catholics in England to be put to death for their faith.
Known as the Martyr of the Moors, he is one of the 85 Catholic Martyrs of England and Wales beatified by Pope John Paul II in November 1987.
St Hedda’s – which is graded outstanding by Ofsted – has 16 pupils aged from four to 11.
The trust’s chief executive officer Hugh Hegarty said: “As a trust we are committed to continuing the missionary work of Blessed Nicholas Postgate in all of our schools.
“Bringing the school in the village where Blessed Nicholas was born into a family would be a very proud achievement for us.
“We see this very much as St Hedda’s coming home and we’re looking forward to helping build a more vibrant school community that will benefit from being part of one of the largest Catholic multi-academy trusts in the country.”
Mr Hegarty plans to visit parishes in the area to talk to meet parents, including those whose children don’t currently attend St Hedda’s, to outline a new transport strategy designed to overcome what he believes has been a barrier to some of them sending their children to a Catholic school.
Headteacher Hilary Thompson said: “St Hedda’s is a fantastic school and we are looking forward to becoming an active member of the trust. Our school motto is ‘Let your light shine’ and this is at the centre of all we believe in and do.”
The Diocese of Middlesbrough’s director of schools Kevin Duffy said the proposal is good news for all concerned.
He said: “The application still requires formal approval, but following on from the sad news of the governors at St Hilda’s RC Primary in Whitby proposing to consult on closure of their school, it is a relief that a solution to secure the future of Catholic education at St Hedda’s could be identified.”